That time of year

When it gets colder, thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Caillou’s holiday movie is on. Yes, I said the c-word. Parents everywhere are crying in their coffee mugs, counting the minutes until their next glass of bourbon or their AA meeting. 

And not even thanksgiving yet. 

I haven’t truly looked forward to a thanksgiving meal in some time. I’ve wanted to host one for years, pretty much since I’ve been diet challenged. My ex MIL made an effort, and I always appreciated it but I’d always feel like I brought half my kitchen over. This year, I was informed I was obligated to attend my sister’s meal. Ok, fine. I live in a small apartment, not conducive to ten kids and 8 adults. It makes sense to not host it. But I asked for the menu, and I’ll get to eat turkey, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes, which I will have to bring my own margarine. That’s it. Probably no gravy, even. I got snark from another sister about how dairy free mashed potatoes aren’t real mashed potatoes. Lord in heaven. If I didn’t have my kids that day, it wouldn’t even be a question, I wouldn’t go.

So I invited Lover over the night before, and will cook a wonderful dinner to my liking and needs. I’m pretty excited about that. Here is the positive in this whole thing, I get to host a small meal, for the two of us. We get leftovers. And then, I’ll go to my sister’s, and will enjoy the family time. No worries about eating. I don’t expect anyone to accommodate me, but it’s unbelievably hard to sit at a table and watch everyone eating food that looks and smells amazing while you can’t eat it.

I know, thanksgiving is about gratitude, not the food. I am so grateful I have a family I can spend thanksgiving with. I love my sisters dearly. I have a wonderful life I only hoped for, but never thought I would actually have. I want to be the person who finds the way to make it happen, whatever “it” is. Who won’t bitch about a meal she can’t eat most of, because she’s with a family who wants her there.
Anyway, I survived one round of Caillou. 2 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes and 46 seconds til my next meeting. 

Day 102

Homemade pizza. Dare I say, all things wonderful come to mind? Paired with Stranger Things 2, a warm cat, and snuggly Lover, and all is set for an amazing cold November evening.

I use a recipe for crust coming from Bette Hageman’s cookbook, The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread. I have no permissions to post that recipe, but you can get it if you choose by buying her book. 

I also make mine amazing by brushing the crust after par baking with olive oil infused with garlic, Italian seasoning and some salt. It gives it that extra crunch and sooo good. Tonight, since my dairy eating Lover is over, I made two crusts, one which will have fresh mozzarella and the other with Daiya mozzarella. Toppings include diced green pepper, onion, mushrooms, garlic, pepperoni. I’m so stoked. Almost as much as I am to watch Stranger Things. 

First we par bake the dough

Then we add the toppings

Then we bake it

Omg. So. Amazing. 

1. Woke up in my favorite way. Slept in. Had an amazing breakfast of egg scramble with oatmeal that had cranberry sauce mixed in.

2. A long hot shower. So lovely. Apartment living has it’s benefits. There is unending hot water. 

3. Dance lessons. I am now learning ballroom dancing. Learned the foxtrot, the ballero (?), the hustle and a few steps on west coast swing. It was so fun! Practicing at home after as well. I’m really into it. Lover and I are working out more lessons.

4. Dessert. Still working on finishing off that lovely dessert A and I made. 

5. Snuggles and Stranger Things. Plus daylight savings made it seem to me like I got to stay up later. That’s a huge plus.

Also, got a refresher on Sandy B. on one of the car rides. I forgot how good he is. I’m hoping I can listen to more of it soon. Those are available from the Gopher State tape library…and possibly from other AA sources but I know for sure Gopher State. It’s worth a listen. 

Day 101

November…cold…cloudy…cold…

I like how November brings things I love. Like Thanksgiving. (Food) Christmas cookie baking after thanksgiving. (More food) Inevitable weight gain from all the food. (An extra layer of warmth from the food? A girl has to stay warm)

Today I did some online grocery shopping, and started buying some of the essentials I will need when I start making cookies. I freaking looove making Christmas cookies. I make all of them to my dietary standards, then give them out to my similarly restricted friends. The feeling I get when I can give delicious cookies to people who would ordinarily not get to eat them because of the ingredients is phenomenal. This year, I made a new vegan friend, and it has me thinking…how much would it change things to remove eggs from the cookies? Or at least, some of them. My goal for the next week or two is to try out a new recipe or two that is eggless, in hopes I can bring holiday cheer to the vegan in my life.

So, apparently A was thinking the same thoughts I was, and asked if we could bake tonight after I picked her up from daycare. Well, of course kid. So I ask her what she wants to make. Cookies? Brownies? Cake? She asks for chocolate and vanilla and cherries. Huh. Ok. So then we start brainstorming. Can we make brownie layers with cherries in the middle? No, she says. Vanilla layer, then chocolate then cherry. 

At first I thought about vanilla cake on top of a brownie layer, but then I got to thinking…what if there is such a thing as vanilla brownies? Googled. They exist. Damn! I had NO idea. So I grabbed a recipe for them, and layered it up with a brownie recipe, slapped some cherry pie filling on top.

Omg.

I don’t even know what to call this. I don’t know if it’s been done before. Neapolitan brownies? Maybe?

So effing good. A thought it needed whipped cream on top. I think she’s correct, but I don’t have any right now. If there are any left tomorrow I’m going to make that happen. No question. That’s my kid. I couldn’t be more proud.

Vanilla layer:

2/3 c rice flour

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

3/4 tsp baking powder 

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 c earth balance

1/3 c white sugar

1/3 c brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

Mixed, spread in 13×9 pan, greased.

Chocolate layer

2oz bakers chocolate 

1/4 c earth balance, melted with the chocolate in the microwave (because that’s how I roll)

1 c white sugar

1 egg plus 1 egg white

1tsp vanilla

1/2 c rice flour (I use Flying Horse brand. It’s so fine it’s like powdered sugar)

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

Dash salt.

I layered this on top of the vanilla layer, baked at 350f for 30 minutes. I feel like it needed an extra 5 though, because it was a tad undertone in the middle, but as you wish. Cooled, then slapped the can of cherry pie filling on top. Next time I might whip the pie filling in with some coconut whipped cream.